Updated Aug 10, 2023
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I love to throw this easy, herbaceous chimichurri sauce on pretty much everything (especially grilled steak). It’s heavy on fresh herbs, has punches of garlic and tangy vinegar, and glistens on top of meat, vegetables, and more!
What is Chimichurri?
We can thank Argentina (and other Latin American countries) for this summery herby green sauce. Think of it as their version of a pesto sauce – but in a much looser form where each ingredient really shines through. It thrives spooned over a grilled skirt steak or cooked vegetables (like my chimichurri potato salad). But it’s so versatile that you can use it for anything that comes off the grill or out of the oven.
One thing to note though is that there is a difference between an authentic chimichurri sauce and a non-authentic one. Trust me. I’ve had authentic chimichurri in Buenos Aires (as I was popping my way down to Antarctica), and unfortunately most of the recipes you’ll find online miss the mark. As much as I love cilantro and onions, nope, they’re not authentic to the recipe.
So today I’m giving you a classic chimichurri recipe – one that’ll give you a delicious South American tasting experience!
Just 5 Simple Ingredients for an Authentic Chimichurri Sauce
The basic formula for chimichurri sauce is herbs, aromatics, an acid, and fat. But for the classic version, make sure to stick with the exact ingredients listed below. Any slight change (even if it’s the vinegar), will alter the taste of the sauce entirely.
- Fresh Herbs: The bulk of this sauce is fresh herbs – specifically flat-leaf parsley and oregano. If you can’t find fresh oregano, dried oregano is perfectly fine – and to be honest, dried is more commonly used in Argentina (I just had fresh on hand).
- Chili Pepper: Because I prefer fresh ingredients, I’m dicing up a red chili pepper. But red pepper flakes work equally as well. In Argentina, I found restaurants that served it both ways.
- Garlic: I’ll normally use a garlic press for minced garlic, but this recipe is all about hand chopped ingredients. So mince the garlic with a knife instead. And while I’m okay with the dried ingredients listed above, definitely opt for fresh garlic rather than garlic powder.
- Olive Oil: Grab your best extra-virgin olive oil – it is the base after all!
- Red Wine Vinegar: Stick with red wine vinegar, any other type of vinegar will completely alter the flavor of the sauce.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How To Make Chimichurri
This is by far one of the easiest sauces to make on the spot (or ahead of time). All you need to do is chop up the herbs, garlic, and chili pepper, then stir everything together!
- Chop it all up. Finely chop the parsley, oregano, chili pepper, and garlic. Then place everything into a small bowl.
- Stir everything together. Add in the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, and stir it all together until combined. Now it’s ready for use, or you can store it away for later!
Tips for the Best Chimichurri Sauce Recipe
- Chop the herbs by hand. You’ll sometimes find that people use a food processor to blend the ingredients up. But for a more authentic version, everything should be chopped by hand. That way it won’t become a thicker, more homogenized sauce when it should be loose.
- Let the sauce age a bit. You can use this sauce right away. But for an even better chimichurri, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours (or overnight). This will give it some time to let the flavors meld together!
Ways To Use Chimichurri Sauce
A jar of this sauce goes a long way for many meals. Here’s how to add a layer of fresh and savory flavor…
- Top onto cooked meats and seafood. Chimichurri sauce spooned over steak will always be a value-add. But it also tastes amazing with grilled shrimp, barbacoa tacos, grilled lamb chops, baked chicken, or any protein you’d want a fresh, herbaceous touch.
- Toss with veggies. I can attest to the fact that chimichurri tastes so darn good with roasted cauliflower, sauteed zucchini, roasted broccoli, and roasted Brussels sprouts!
- Add a layer in sandwiches. Whatever type of sandwich (or even burger) you’re making, add a layer of this sauce on top. It’ll really make your sandwich pop!
Good news – chimichurri sauce will last for several weeks (and tastes better as it ages). So if you plan to use it for future meals, you’ve got a few storage options.
- To store: Pour it into an airtight jar (like this Weck jar) and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
- To freeze: You can freeze the sauce in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 3 months. And if you have an ice cube tray (like Souper Cubes), you can freeze the sauce into cubes. Once you’re ready to use, let the sauce thaw in the fridge overnight.
More Easy Sauce Ideas
You can never have too many sauce recipes in your back pocket. Especially when you need to dress up some chicken or seafood!
- Tzatziki (or this Vegan Tzatziki)
- Romesco Sauce
- Chipotle Sauce
- Tahini Sauce (and if you love mustard flavors, you’ll love this maple mustard tahini!)
- BBQ Sauce
Needless to say, this is the sauce of the summer for all your grilled meats and veggies. Once you make it, let me know how it turned out in a comment below!
- ½ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped red chili pepper (from one small chili pepper) or ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Chop the dry ingredients. Finely chop the parsley, oregano, chili pepper, and garlic. Alternatively, you can pulse the ingredients in a food processor (but see my note above on why I think hand chopping is best!). Then place the chopped ingredients in a small bowl.
- Stir everything together. Add the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir together and serve immediately or store in the fridge (see storage instructions above).
- Each serving is about 3 tablespoons.
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Recipe originally posted July 2022, but updated to include new information.